In flight over Konstance
Count Zeppelin's airship over the city
At the birth of the 20th Century, aviation was part fiction and part reality. Air travel, still in its nascent state by 1908, required the use of lighter than air vessels, the only crafts which provided somewhat reliable travel and any sort of usable distance. Balloons and dirigibles, balloons with any sort of rigid infrastructure sealed inside envelope with a motor for propulsion and steerable surfaces, were the only means of transportation available to aviators and passengers. In Germany, as has often been the case, the nations path to flight took a slightly different turn than other nations. While America, France and England generated aviators who concentrated on creating heavier than air vehicles, Germany threw most of it's support into creating a gigantic lighter-than air ship. Envisioned by Count Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich von Zeppelin, these airships, along with their inventor, captured the hearts and attention of many German citizens. In an extraordinary fashion, the story of the Zeppelin airship is a piece of Germany's story of unity and blossoming national patriotism.
Zeppelin III in flight.
This website endeavors to capture some of the awe and passion that was seen in Germany during the 1908 phenomenon inspired by the phoenix-like destruction of Zeppelin's fourth airship. A brief history of aviation will provide a backdrop and foundation upon which this story is built. Next follows a short introduction to Count Zeppelin's personal history accumulating to his involvement with building airships. Subsequently, a section of this site will describe the events surrounding the crash of the LZ4 at Echterdingen, followed by a look at how the public rallied around the distraught Count and turned the disaster into the phoenix of Echterdingen. Finally, and somewhat out of place, this site includes a mock-up of an advertising booklet that was used to promote the commercial airline business that arose from the need to finance the production and research of the giant dirigibles.